Question 3: To whom do the police account? To what extent do current arrangements enable the police properly to account to the community for their actions?
The community demands accountability from the police. The community has conferred upon the police powers which are not conferred upon ordinary individuals in the community. In any democratic society based on the rule of law and responsible government, it is fundamental that police independence be balanced with accountability. Accountability in definition would constitute by holding police responsible for what they do, organizationally and/or individually, by seeing their policies and practices and what they claim authority to do as things that should be open to scrutiny and that they should be prepared to justify1.
This essay will be discussed in two separate parts in the context of police accountability. On the one hand, to whom the police are answerable for their actions? On the other hand, what extent would current arrangements hold the police accountable to the community for their actions?
2. TO WHOM DO THE POLICE ACCOUNT?
Accountability implies some form of explanation and justification, usually a public one2. It does not mean direction or control with operational policy being decided by some outside body3. Control of day-to-day operations rests firmly with the Chief Constable, although he is subject to scrutiny and influence by the Home Office and the government3. This is an apparent breadth of police accountability, through formal and informal channels. They face a range of audiences-not merely the public and senior officers but local and national politicians, judges, the media, as well as formal complaints4.
It is further important to consider the main areas of accountability prior to discussing details of the arguments as to whom the police are accountable. Principally, I would highlight the operational5 aspects of accountability here, though short outlines of other issues will also be mentioned to better understand of the arguments of police accountability.
A. Areas of accountability:
There are three main areas of accountability to be considered within most policing organisations which are: a) Financial; b) Personal and c) Operational5. All of them are to some extent the responsibility of the Chief Officer of Police. If there is some degree of police independence, then, given the hierarchic nature of police organisations, this translates into a great deal of personal independence for the Chief Officer in the governance of the organisation, and therefore personal responsibility for any perceived failings in the organisation6 .
Financial accountability of police to the Home Office (on behalf of the government) is not particularly controversial7: since the escalating cost of policing are recognised within the organisation, it is right for police authorities to show how the money is spent8. Police services have large capital assets to manage, buildings and vehicle fleets, for example, and the principles of effective management of these are, perhaps, not wildly different from the principles any business, which would rely on for getting the best value for money from its shops, factories, warehouses and vehicles. What does cause problems is trying to fit policing outcomes into the sort of profit and loss balance sheet to which accountants are accustomed.
Police services are now subject to much more stringent financial accountability than they have been in the past. The object of this accountability has also changed: although the police service is still accountable to its police authority, the police authority is no longer a part of local government but a separate entity9. Although the chief officer prepares the budget, this requires the police authority’s agreement, but it is the Home Office which determines the aggregate grant. In a subtle but important shift of emphasis, police are now more financially...
Bibliography: 1. Bayley, D. (1995) ‘Getting Serious about Police Brutality’ in P. Stenning (ed.) Accountability for Criminal Justice: Selected Essays, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
2. Bittner, E
3. Brogden, M., Jefferson, T. and Walklate, S. (1988) Introducing Policework, London: Unwin Hyman.
4. Brown, (1997) PACE-Ten Years On Home Office: Home Office Research Study No. 155.
6. Choongh, S. (1997) Policing As Social Discipline Oxford: Oxford University Press.
7. Davids, C. and Hancock, L. (1998) ‘Policing, Accountability, and Citizenship in the Market State’, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology 31(1): 38–68.
8. Dixon, D. (1997) Law in Policing: Legal Regulation and Police Practices, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
10. Ericson, R. and Haggerty, K. (1997) Policing the Risk Society, Toronto: University of Toronto Press and Oxford: Clarendon Press.
11. Garland, D. (1996) ‘The Limits of the Sovereign State: Strategies of Crime Control in Contemporary Society’, British Journal of Criminology36(4): 445 71.
12. Goldsmith A. (ed) (1991) Complaints Against The Police, Oxford University Press.
13. Goldsmith A. and C Lewis (eds) (2000) Civilian Oversight of Policing: Governance, Democracy and Human Rights. Portland, Oregon: Hart.
14. Harrison, J and M Cunneen (2000) An Independent Police Complaints Commission. London: Liberty.
15. Home Affairs Committee (1997) ‘Policing Disciplinary and Complaints Procedures’, First Report, HC 258. London: HMSO.
16. Home Office (2000a) Complaints Against the Police: a Consultation Paper. www.homeoffice.gov.uk
17. Home Office (2000b) Complaints Against the Police: Framework for a New System
18. Humphrey, C. and Owen, D. (1998) ‘Debating the “Power” of Audit’, paper given to the Asian Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference, 4–6 August 1998, Osaka.
19. Jefferson, T, and Grimshaw, R. (1984). Controlling the Constable: Police Accountability in England and Wales. London: Muller.
20. Jones, T. (2003) ‘The Governance and accountability of policing’ in T. Newburn, Handbook of Policing. Cullompton: Willan.
21. Jones, T and Newburn, T (1997) Policing After the Act. London: Policy Studies Institute.
22. Jones, T and Newburn, T. and Smith, D. J. (1994) Democracy and Policing. London: Policy Studies Institute.
23. KPMG (2000) Feasibility of an Independent System for Investigating Complaints Against the Police. London: Home Office Policing and Reducing Crime Unit, Police Research Series Paper No 124.
24. Landau, T. (1994) Public Complaints Against the Police: A View from Complainants, Toronto: Centre of Criminology, University of Toronto.
26. Leishman, F., Loveday, B., and Savage, S.P. (eds) (1996) Core Issues in Policing, London: Longman.
27. Lustgarten, L. (1986) The Governance of the Police, London: Sweet and Maxwell.
28. Manning, P.K. (1987) ‘Ironies of Compliance’, in C. Shearing and P. Stenning (eds) Private Policing, Beverly Hills: Sage.
29. Maguire M. and C. Corbett (1987) “ Patterns and Profiles of Complaints Against the Police’. In R. Morgan and D. Smith (eds). Coming to Terms with Policing. London: Routledge.
30. Maguire . M. and C. Corbett (1991) A Study of The Police Complaints System. London: HMSO.
31. Marshall, G
32. McLaughlin, E. (1991) ‘Police Accountability and Black People’ in E. Cashmore and E. McLaughlin, Out of Order? Policing Black People. London: Routledge.
33. McLaughlin, E. (1994). Community, Policing and Accountability, Aldershot: Avebury.
34. Morgan, R & Newburn, T (1997) The Future of Policing Oxford: Oxford University Press.
35. Morgan, R. (1987) “Police Accountability; Developing the local Infrastructure”. British Jnl. Of Criminology Winter 1987.
36. McConville, M. , Sanders, A., and Leng, R. (1991) The Case for the Prosecution: Police, Suspects and the Construction of Criminality, London: Routledge.
37. Neyroud, R & P Beckley (2001) Policing, ethics and human rights. Willan publishing.
38. Oppal Report (1994) Closing the Gap: Policing and the Community. Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Policing in BritishColumbia. Volume 2.
39. Reiner, R. and S. Spencer (eds) (1993) Accountable Policing: Effectiveness, Empowerment and Equity London: IPRR.
40. Rose, N. and Miller, P. (1992) ‘Political Power Beyond the State: Problematics of Government’, British Journal of Sociology 43(2): 173–205.
41. Sanders, A. (1993) “Controlling the Discretion of the Individual Officer” in R. Reiner and S. Spencer (eds) Accountable Policing: Effectiveness, Empowerment and Equity London: IPRR 1993.
42. Sanders, A. and R. Young (2002) ‘From Suspect to Trial’, in Maguire, M, Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. (The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (3rd. ed) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
43. Scott, M.B. and Lyman, S.M. (1968) ‘Accounts’, American Sociological Review 33: 46–62.
44. Sheptycki, J. (2002) Accountability Across the Policing Field: Towards a General Cartography of Accountability for Post-Modern Policing. Policing & Society Volume 12, Number 4/ 2002 323-338.
45. Skolnick, J. and Fyfe, J. (1993) Above the Law: Police and Excessive Use of Force, New York: The Free Press.
46. Smith, G. (2004) Rethinking police complaints. British Journal of Criminology 44, 15-33.
47. Smith, G (2001) ‘Police Complaints and Criminal Prosecutions’, 64 Modern Law Review 3, 372.
48. Stenning. P (2000) ‘Evaluating Police Complaints Legislation: A Suggested Framework’, in A Goldsmith and C Lewis (eds) Civilian Oversight of Policing: Governance, Democracy and Human Rights. Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing.
49. Stenning, P. (ed.) (1995) Accountability for Criminal Justice: Selected Essays, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
50. Sydney Morning Herald (1996a) ‘New watchdog’ 16 July 1996 (Editorial)- 1996b ‘Huge shake-out for NSW police’ 9 August 1996.- 1996c ‘Justice Wood speaks out’ 1 October 1996 (Editorial).
51. Sykes, G. and Matza, D. (1957) ‘Techniques of Neutralization’, American Sociological Review 22 (December): 667–9.
52. Tetlock, P. (1995) ‘Accountability in Social Systems: A Psychological Perspective’ in P. Stenning (ed.) Accountability for Criminal Justice: Selected Essays, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
53. Walker, S. (1993) Taming the System: The Control of Discretion in Criminal Justice 1950–1990, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
54. Wood Report (1996) Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service Interim Report, February 1996 , Sydney: NSW Government. -1997 Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service Final Report Volumes I and II, Sydney: NSW Government.
55. Waters, I & K Brown (2000) ‘Police Complaints and the Complainants’ Experience’, British Journal of Criminology 40, 617.
56. Yeatman, A. (1987) ‘The Concept of Public Management and the Australian State in the 1980s’, Australian Journal of Public Administration 46(4): 339–53.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document